Dissertation (Finance)

This module is the culmination of the MSc in Finance where you’ll design and conduct your own research project, and write this up as a dissertation. Your project can relate to existing academic literature in finance, a topic you've covered in a previous module on the MSc in Finance, or another financial topic you're interested in. This will enable you to demonstrate the research skills expected at masters level including formulating research questions; reviewing relevant literature and developing hypotheses; designing research to test your hypotheses and answer your questions; collecting and analysing data; and communicating findings and conclusions effectively and rigorously. Tuition in these research skills is provided in small groups, with online materials to help you develop your project. One-to-one support and feedback from your supervisor will guide you through the whole process.

Vocational relevance

The module provides you with an opportunity to carry out a quantitative empirical research project which has relevance for finance and business practice. You'll also have a chance to familiarise yourself with professional databases, like Eikon, and statistical software packages such as R.


B895 is a compulsory module in our:

Excluded combinations

Sometimes you will not be able to count a module towards a qualification if you have already taken another module with similar content. To check any excluded combinations relating to this module, visit our excluded combination finder or check with an adviser.


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU postgraduate modules correspond to these frameworks.
OU Postgraduate
Study method
Distance learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements

Find out more about entry requirements.

What you will study

The module is organised into one introductory week and the following five stages and each supports the drafting of different parts or chapters of the dissertation.

  • Preparing a research proposal for a quantitative empirical study
  • Reviewing the literature and refining your research ideas and question(s)
  • Research methodology: research approach, design and methods
  • Carrying out your research and analysing your data
  • Completing, writing up and concluding.

Each stage includes learning material that will support the carrying out of the research and the writing of the dissertation. Some stages provide detailed material, while others require greater independent work and are shorter in learning content.

At the end of your dissertation you are required to include a reflective account. This fits into the notions of the reflective practitioner, whereby effective finance professionals consciously reflect upon, and learn from, their work-related experiences. To this end, the reflective account supports the development of the professional skills encouraged throughout the previous modules.

As well as the module website there are various other resources available to you. For example, you'll be provided with guidance on writing your research proposal, literature review, and choosing and implementing your chosen research methods. You'll also be guided on the availability of various data sources used in empirical finance literature. For your empirical analysis, you will be expected to build upon the knowledge that you acquired in your research methods module.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor, who'll also be your research supervisor, to help you work through the study programme and mark and comment on your written work, and your contact for advice and guidance. You can contact your tutor by phone, email or via the tutor group forum on the module website.

The module website enables you to have online interaction with your tutor and other students studying the same module. Your tutor group will be smaller than with the other modules, as each tutor only supervises four students to provide thorough guidance during the research study.


The assessment details can be found in the facts box.

Course work includes

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment

Future availability

Dissertation (Finance) starts once a year, in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2031.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

As this is the final module that you will study in the MSc in Finance you must have successfully completed the required compulsory modules and optional module.

This module requires approximately 600 hours of study over 47 weeks.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of this module and best time to start, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
02 Nov 2024 Oct 2025 £3730.00

Registration closes 10/10/24 (places subject to availability)

This module is expected to start for the last time in November 2031.

Future availability

Dissertation (Finance) starts once a year, in November. This page describes the module that will start in November 2024. We expect it to start for the last time in November 2031.

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

Ways to pay for this module

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how much it’s going to cost and how you can pay.

That’s why we keep our fees as low as possible and offer a range of flexible payment and funding options, including a postgraduate loan, if you study this module as part of an eligible qualification. To find out more, see Fees and funding.

Study materials

What's included

You'll have access to a module website, which includes:

  • a week-by-week study planner
  • course-specific module materials
  • audio and video content
  • assignment details and submission section
  • online tutorial access and discussion forums
  • published articles
  • access to The Open University library.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.

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